The fruits are listed in Galatians 5:22: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Why don’t Christians constantly bear fruit? Because we automatically default to our sin nature. Walking in the Spirit is a moment-by-moment surrendering. It is a death to self, an unconditional surrender to do or be whatever He wills, in His timing.
Fruit of the Spirit is produced through internal conflict between self and the Holy Spirit. Paul describes his internal battle in Romans 7:15-19:
For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.
I am weak in taking my thoughts captive when I have been hurt or falsely accused. I allow myself to dwell on what was said or done. My soul screams “Unfair!” These thoughts grow into anger and result in bitterness (I believe this weakness in my life resulted in my open heart surgery this year).
A dear friend helped me with my struggle by giving me a visual as a prompt. She recommended I visualize quicksand with a large DANGER sign next to it. When I am tempted to dwell on an unjust situation I can visualize the danger sign and remember: Not taking my thoughts captive is like purposely stepping into the quicksand, allowing it to suck me down into a bottomless pit of sinful anger. This has really helped.
The danger sign signals me to switch from wallowing in self-pity to glorifying God. I am driven to God in prayer for the strength only He can give. I pray for God to give me His love and mercy toward that person. Then, being transformed by the renewing of my mind through God’s Holy Spirit, I can focus on praying for the person.
Keys to Fruit Production
Developing Christian character is in itself fruit: the desire to become Christ-like is faithfulness produced by the Holy Spirit. As we spend time in God’s Word we get to know Him, we learn what pleases Him, we become more and more conformed to that knowledge. His word is bread that nourishes our soul. His Word is the nutrition the branch needs to bear the fruit.
The fruits should not be our focus because that is a focus on self. We need to switch our focus from self onto the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the producer of the fruits. We are merely the branch that bears the fruit. We can only rise above our sin nature and allow the Holy Spirit to work through us by His power. Without Christ, we can do nothing!
John told the Pharisees and Sadducees in Matthew 3:8 to bear fruits worthy of repentance. The fruit of repentance is a change of attitude toward God and His instruction. It represents giving up fleshly desires by turning from disobedience to obedience. The spiritual fruit is not proof of our dedication or allegiance but is rather an indication of our dependence on God.This is important to remember so we don’t fall into pride.
In John 15, Jesus begins teaching using the vine as an illustration. He reasons out the lesson saying, “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” He speaks of God pruning us “…while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful…” And how the fruit brings glory to God “…This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples….”
Spiritual fruit is produced when we submit to the Holy Spirit and let Him control our thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and actions. This is wisdom–not man’s wisdom–God’s wisdom.
These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (1 Cor 2:13)
We must be diligent students of the Word soaking our study in prayer that his Spirit would humble us to submit to every truth in it.
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